Pool Deck Materials: The Best Ground Cover Options for Swimming Pool Areas
You’ve installed a sparkling swimming pool, and now it’s time to add pool decking ground cover immediately surrounding the pool itself.
After all, you don’t want messy dirt and debris marring the beauty of your new pool!
Choosing a suitable material is essential for both aesthetic and comfort reasons.
Poolscaping is a term for designing the area around your pool.
This is where everyone congregates and is key to defining the pool’s style and ambiance.
There are a variety of natural and manufactured materials that create superior pool deck ground covers.
This article will tell you what to look for and compare the seven best pool deck materials.
What to Look For in a Pool Area Ground Cover
When choosing your pool deck materials, it’s important to compare your options in terms of aesthetics, slip resistance, heat resistance, cost, and maintenance.
Here’s what to look for in a pool area ground cover.
Aesthetics / Design Options
You want to choose a material that fits with your backyard landscaping or the overall decor of the area in which the pool sits.
Some popular pool deck ground covers are available in only a limited range of colors, shapes, and sizes.
Others, such as artificial grass, are available in several colors and up to any size.
Slip-Resistance & Comfort
Traction is essential for your swimming pool deck surface.
Slip resistance has to be a high priority, especially if children, the elderly, and guests outside your family use the pool.
All pool deck ground cover materials can get slippery when wet, but some offer better surface traction than others.
Heat-Resistance / Heat Reflectivity
Compared to brick and tile pool decks, which can become very hot to the touch after baking in the sun all day.
Some pool area ground cover materials are more comfortable on bare feet because of their solar reflection and water absorption capabilities.
Cost / Affordability
Some pool deck ground covers, such as stone and tile, can be costly to install due to the labor needed to build them one piece at a time.
Materials such as artificial turf cost less to install around your swimming pool than some alternatives and considerably less for ongoing maintenance.
Popular pool area ground cover materials are very durable, but most require significant maintenance expenses to achieve their anticipated lifespan.
For example, bricks and pavers often shift and need to be releveled or replaced.
Their joints need to be refilled periodically to inhibit weed growth.
Even poured concrete needs periodic resurfacing to wear evenly and look its best.
Artificial grass can maintain a like-new appearance for up to two decades with very little maintenance.
What are the Best Pool Deck Materials?
Taking all of the above into account, here are the seven best materials for pool deck ground cover, in no particular order.
Using concrete for your pool area ground cover provides the option of having any surface treatment.
From a plain broom finish, to exposed aggregate, to stamped patterns that mimic the look of natural stone, brick, tile, or wood.
Concrete can also be mixed with pigments to create various colors.
Installing a concrete pool deck ground cover costs between $6 and $18 per square foot, depending on the options chosen.
- Can be patterned to mimic more expensive materials
- Extremely durable
- Will need to be resurfaced every 10-15 years, depending on weather, traffic usage, and other factors
- Can crack, particularly in response to weather extremes
Concrete pavers are one of the most expensive options for pool deck ground cover, at between $16 and $24 per square foot on average.
The high cost is due mostly to the need to create a multi-layer, compacted subbase before laying the pavers themselves.
The pavers themselves are not that expensive, but labor is significant.
- Joints absorb water that helps keep surfaces cool to the touch
- Can last 50 years or more with proper maintenance
- Weeds and moss can grow in the joints
- Can become uneven and wobble over time
Travertine gives your pool a luxurious look reminiscent of the Mediterranean.
This natural stone is installed like pavers over a base of sand and gravel.
A top-quality travertine pool deck runs between $12 and $16 per square foot, depending on factors such as deck size and the stone’s finish.
- Highly solar-reflective and stays cool in hot weather
- Can last 50 years or more with proper maintenance
- More expensive than other options
- Needs to be sealed regularly.
Stone offers a natural look that will stand the test of time.
Popular types of stone for pool area ground covers include flagstone, limestone, sandstone, and slate.
Installing a stone pool deck is similar in cost to a stone patio, with much of the expense based on the type and size of stone desired.
Anticipate a total cost of $25 to $35 per square foot, although it can range from $13 to $50 per square foot depending the exact type of stone and other factors.
- Colors and patterns to fit nearly any decor
- Can last 50 years or more with proper maintenance.
- Often the most expensive option
- Needs to be sealed regularly for long life
Some of the most common woods used for pool area ground cover include pine, teak, cedar, and mahogany.
Installing a wood pool deck runs between $3 to $15 per square foot, depending on the type of wood used.
Pine is the least expensive, followed by cedar, teak, and mahogany in that order.
- Can be stained to match nearly any decor
- Environmentally friendly
- High maintenance compared to most other materials
- Lifespan typically 10-15 years
Brick is timeless and known for its durability and easy installation.
Brick costs between $5 and $25 per square foot, depending on the size, color, and texture of the bricks used. Labor costs are on top of that.
- Comes in various colors (terra cotta is most popular)
- Lifespan typically 20 years or more with regular maintenance
- Moss and weeds can grow in the joints
- Requires regular sealing and maintenance
There is something about green grass that just makes people feel good.
One of the reasons artificial grass is so popular is that it stays beautifully green year-round.
Another is that it requires hardly any maintenance.
Installing an artificial turf pool area ground cover in your backyard will typically cost between $11 – $35 per square foot.
The larger the area, the lower the cost per square foot.
For example, you’re looking at perhaps $20 – $30 per square foot, including materials and labor, for areas of between 400 – 2,000 square feet.
Following installation, maintenance cost for artificial grass is minimal.
Cleanup requires only a periodic spray with the garden hose and an occasional brushing to keep the fibers upright.
There’s nothing to resurface or seal.
- Available in various materials and colors (natural green is the most popular)
- Lifespan warranted for up to 20 years
- Only suitable for installation over flat surfaces
- Can be damaged by sharp objects
Final Thoughts on the Best Pool Deck Materials for Swimming Pool Surrounds
After comparing installation cost, maintenance requirements, anticipated lifespan, ease of use, and overall appearance, many people find that artificial grass is their best option for commercial and residential pool decking ground cover.
For top-quality materials and quality in artificial grass installation, you can count on Ideal Turf.
We encourage you to read our customer reviews.
Convenient financing is available, too.
For more information on an artificial grass installation in Texas or Oklahoma, please contact Ideal Turf today!
To get your FREE artificial grass design & installation estimate, simply CLICK HERE or feel free to give us a call at 800-204-4650.
Author: Tim Taylor
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